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Glycemic load: summary table

Keen to follow a low-glycemic load diet? This table lists both the glycemic index and glycemic load of common foods in alphabetical order

Glycemic load of foods

Glycemic index and glycemic load

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure developed by doctors in the 1980s to evaluate the effect of foods on blood sugar levels, as part of efforts to combat diabetes. Basically, the more a food makes blood sugar levels rise, the higher its glycemic index (1).

This device allowed doctors to understand that not all carbohydrates are necessarily bad for diabetics: some carbohydrates (such as glucose and sucrose) are worse than others (such as fructose and starch).

With this knowledge, they were able to categorize foods according to their GI:

  • below 55, a food is classed as low GI ;
  • between 55 and 69, it is moderate GI;
  • above 70, it is high GI.

However, there are two factors not taken into account by the glycemic index:

  • the amount of carbohydrates a food contains;
  • the the serving size normally consumed of that food.

Because of this, we now have the glycemic load: a new measure which allows a more precise evaluation of a food’s impact on blood sugar(2).

Glycemic load formula

To determine a food’s glycemic load, you multiply its glycemic index by the number of carbohydrates in an average serving of the food, then divide that by 100.

Let’s take the example of cornflakes:

  • they have a GI of 80 ;
  • a normal 30g serving contains around 25g of carbohydrates, so their glycemic load will be (25 x 80)/100 = 20.

What’s an appropriate daily glycemic load?

It is generally accepted that the daily glycemic load should be somewhere between 80 and 120. Anything above that is considered too high.

To arrive at this figure, you simply add together the glycemic load of all the different foods consumed during the day (using the amount actually consumed rather than that ‘normally’ consumed).

Glycemic index and glycemic load table

To help you, we’ve put together this table of the glycemic load and index of 50 common foods. As you’ll see, it’s the freshest, least refined and least processed foods which have the lowest glycemic load (3).

Food

Carbohydrates per serving

Glycemic index

Glycemic load

1. Apricots

11

34

3.8

2. Apricots (dried)

60

30

18

3. Bananas

21

48

10

4. Wheat (cooked)

90

35

32

5. Bulghur wheat

76

55

42

6. Carrots (raw)

20

23

2

7. Carrots (cooked)

20

92

9

8. Cherries

16

25

4

9. Chocolate (dark)

30

23

7

10. Dates

15

29

4

11. Dates (dried)

35

40

14

12. Wholemeal flour T150 (wholemeal loaf)

15

51

8

13. Wholemeal flour T55 (baguette)

18

83

12

14. Wholemeal flour T65 (farmhouse loaf)

15

85

13

15. Strawberries

7.7

25

1.9

16. Gnocchi

20

70

14

17. White beans (cooked)

64

35

22.5

18. Kidney beans (cooked)

53

35

18.5

19. French beans

21.5

80

17.2

20. Kiwi fruit

15

50

7.5

21. Lentils (cooked)

50

25

12.5

22. Lychees

15

50

7.6

23. Mangos

15

56

8.5

24. Honey

5

53

3

25. Muesli (plain)

47

50

23.5

26. Nectarines

12

35

4

27. Nuts

7

15

1

28. Oranges

12

35

4

29. Orange juice

15

45

8

30. Grapefruit

11

22

2.5

31. Watermelon

7.5

75

5.5

32. Sweet potato (cooked)

28

65

18.2

33. White pasta (cooked)

40

60

25

34. Wholemeal pasta (cooked)

40

50

20

35. Peaches

11

35

4

36. Peas (cooked)

15

9

1

37. Pears

15.5

30

4.5

38. Split peas (cooked)

22

22

5

39. Apples

14

36

5

40. Apple juice

11

41

4.5

41. Potato (cooked)

21

95

20

42. Squash (cooked)

7

65

4.5

43. Plums

11

35

9

44. Quinoa (cooked)

21

35

7.5

45. White grapes

17

56

9.6

46. White rice

80

70

56

47. Wholegrain rice

80

50

28

48. Buckwheat

44

50

22

49. Semolina

70

60

42

50. Tomato juice

4.2

35

1.5

Controlling your blood sugar

If you want to control your weight or indeed lose weight, it’s essential to monitor your blood sugar levels: the metabolism of glucose is a factor in weight gain, and especially fat mass gain.

This is because foods with a high glycemic load produce a spike in insulin, and insulin allows glucose to enter cells. Any excess glucose generated is then metabolized into fat cells called adipocytes.

The good news is there are several plants and natural remedies that can help to normalize the metabolism of sugars and thus regulate glycemia. The main ones are:

  • banaba, a tropical shrub containing corosolic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene which transports glucose across the cell membrane (4-5) ;
  • barberry, a semi-tropical shrub containing berberine, an alkaloid which promotes glucose metabolism and helps maintain normal glycemia (6);
  • Gymnema sylvestris, an Ayurvedic plant containing gymnemic acid, which is believed to delay the absorption of glucose into the blood, thus helping to normalize sugar metabolism (7-8).

SUPERSMART ADVICE

References

  1. WOLEVER, T. M. The glycemic index. World review of nutrition and dietetics, 1990, vol. 62, p. 120-185.
  2. VENN, B. J. et GREEN, T. J. Glycemic index and glycemic load: measurement issues and their effect on diet–disease relationships. European journal of clinical nutrition, 2007, vol. 61, no 1, p. S122-S131.
  3. FOSTER-POWELL, Kaye, HOLT, Susanna HA, et BRAND-MILLER, Janette C. International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 2002, vol. 76, no 1, p. 5-56.
  4. STOHS, Sidney J., MILLER, Howard, et KAATS, Gilbert R. A review of the efficacy and safety of banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa L.) and corosolic acid. Phytotherapy Research, 2012, vol. 26, no 3, p. 317-324.
  5. STOHS, Sidney J., MILLER, Howard, et KAATS, Gilbert R. A review of the efficacy and safety of banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa L.) and corosolic acid. Phytotherapy Research, 2012, vol. 26, no 3, p. 317-324.
  6. LI, Cheng, HE, Jin-Zhi, ZHOU, Xue-Dong, et al.Berberine regulates type 2 diabetes mellitus related with insulin resistance. Zhongguo Zhong yao za zhi= Zhongguo zhongyao zazhi= China journal of Chinese materia medica, 2017, vol. 42, no 12, p. 2254-2260.
  7. SHANMUGASUNDARAM, E. R. B., RAJESWARI, G., BASKARAN, K., et al.Use of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract in the control of blood glucose in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 1990, vol. 30, no 3, p. 281-294.
  8. SANEJA, Ankit, SHARMA, Chetan, ANEJA, K. R., et al.Gymnema sylvestre (Gurmar): A review. Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2010, vol. 2, no 1, p. 275-284.

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